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Young boy's death stays mystery for over a decade

Posted March 13, 2011

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— Mystery still surrounds the death of a young boy whose body was discovered 12 years ago in Orange County. His identity hasn't been discovered – much less, those of his killers.

On Sept. 25, 1998, a worker mowing grass made an unusual, and gruesome, discovery: the skeleton of a 10-year-old boy.

The boy's body was under a billboard on Industrial Drive, a service road that parallels Interstate 85 South near the Buckhorn Road exit in Mebane.

"It's got a lot of traffic in the daytime hours. At nighttime, it's pretty desolate," Tim Horne, an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff's Office, said.

Investigators believe that someone placed the child's body at the edge of the woods, and a medical examiner estimates the child's body was left at the scene about three months earlier.

An autopsy determined the remains belonged to a white or Hispanic boy, about 4 feet, 11 inches tall, with dark brown hair about 3 to 4 inches long.

"When we got there, we actually found the child's socks and shoes, underwear, a pair of shorts," Horne said.

Investigators found white boys briefs, Polo-brand khaki shorts with a rider-and-horse emblem embroidered on cuff of a leg, white athletic socks and a pair of size 3 black-and-white athletic shoes with the brand “2XS” or “ZXS." He also had evidence of dental sealant on some of his teeth.

They also found $50 neatly folded inside the boy's pocket.

"The average 10-year-old doesn't have $50 in their pocket. That was unusual," Horne said.

He said a stranger element in the case, though, is that no one ever reported a missing child or came forward to claim the boy's remains.

NCWanted Boy's death still unsolved

"Someone's going to miss a child," said Horne.

"If a child died of natural causes – whatever the cause may have been – someone's going to report that child missing," he added. "There's going to be some kind of record, and we haven't got that."

Investigators do not know what happened to the boy, but they believe foul play was involved. With new DNA technology, they hope the case can be solved.

"A 10-year-old doesn't disappear normally, and no one reports it," Horne said.

Anyone with information about Boy Doe, found in Mebane in September 1998, can call NC Wanted's tipline at 1-866-439-2683 or submit a tip online.

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  • MLWoman Mar 14, 2011

    This case is so sad, the only solace is that he is not suffering now. I so appreciate law enforcement and NC Wanted for not letting this go, and being diligent in keeping this before the public eye periodically. I am convinced that this case will be solved, my friend always says that "what you do in the dark, will come to the light".

  • thefensk Mar 14, 2011

    This kid could be from anywhere ... huge truck stop literally around the corner from this location. And unfortunately it is a dual Interstate at that point so he could be from anywhere along IH40 or IH85 or any of their intersecting highways.

  • busyb97 Mar 14, 2011

    The fact that no child was reported missing (in the area)- would make me think the family was involved somehow so wouldn't want to draw attention to him missing OR he wasn't from this area at all.

  • blueliner41 Mar 14, 2011

    look at the schools for possible answers. if this little boy was in some area school someone has a record of him.

  • Call It Like I See It Mar 14, 2011

    Thats just weird.... and that was a good point "JAT". It's crazy to think someone could have just sent him packing all by himself... I hate stories like this that just don't add up.

  • JAT Mar 14, 2011

    I didn't know that $50 was in his pocket. That makes is almost seem like someone gave him the money and sent him on his way. Could a passing car have hit him maybe as we walked along the road at night? This is a very sad case. It's sad to think there are parents out there, and grandparents and neighbors and family, that don't know or care that they've lost this little boy.